Preview: Stars vs. Fever
If the Indiana Fever want to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they'll need to quickly turn things around on their longest road swing of the season.
After kicking off a five-game trip with a disappointing loss, the Fever continue the stretch Saturday night against the San Antonio Stars.
Indiana (11-13) had won a team record-tying three straight road contests before Tuesday's 60-57 loss to Chicago, which had dropped six in a row.
Marissa Coleman and Tamika Catchings each had 11 points for the Fever, who lost the game at the free-throw line by going 9 for 20 while the Sky were 16 of 17. Indiana trailed by nine at halftime before tying it at 55 with less than 40 seconds left.
"We did everything we needed to do in the second half to come back and win, but when you're on the road and miss 11 free throws you're going to have an awful hard time winning," coach Lin Dunn said.
With only first-place Atlanta above .500 in the East, a strong trip will keep the Fever in the postseason hunt. Only two games separate second and sixth place in the standings, and Indiana can tie Washington for the No. 2 spot with a victory.
The Fever will also face Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix on the trip.
Things are currently a bit more clear for San Antonio (12-13) in the West. The Stars enter this contest in third place with a 3 1/2-game lead over the fifth-place Storm.
San Antonio is unlikely to catch second-place Minnesota, which has a seven-game advantage, but the Sparks are nipping at the Stars' heels and trail them by just 1 1/2.
The Stars, kicking off a three-game homestand, fell 88-78 to the Lynx on Friday for their fourth loss in five games overall.
Danielle Robinson scored 15 points for San Antonio, which trailed by 10 in the third before using a 13-6 run to cut the deficit to 52-51 with 5:15 to play in the quarter. Minnesota put the game out of reach with a 12-0 surge in the fourth.
The Stars attempted four free throws compared to 18 by the Lynx.
"That's tough to make up," coach Dan Hughes said. "That's a tough scenario for us to make that differential up in that situation and we had to deal with some foul trouble that we don't normally do." In their first meeting with Indiana this season, the Stars rallied from a 13-point hole in the final five minutes for a 71-70 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 5.
A San Antonio victory in this one will even the all-time series 14-all.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.